BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Two months ago, Narong Sokhom visited his doctor’s office and found out he was HIV positive.
“I was shocked, I was scared and I kind of felt like the world is going to end, but I knew at the same time that it wasn’t. I know that I’ll be okay, I knew that I was not feeling okay, but that I will be okay,” said Sokhom.
Narong hasn’t told his parents. In his family, talking about sexual health is taboo, but he has reached out to friends and healthcare workers – Which is why he’s at the State House – In honor of World Aids Day, he wants everyone to know there’s support out there for those who need it.
“You know there are people who’s going to help you. There’s no one who’s going to turn you away. If you feel like you gotta cry, just cry. I was told that. But I didn’t want to cry because I wanted to stay positive,” said Sakhom.
According to the Department of Public Health there are up to 27,000 people in Massachusetts living with HIV. It’s estimated that more than 5,000 people don’t even know it. Lawmakers say we can get that number down to zero if more people would get tested.
“People need to come forward. Part of the focus of World Aids Day is getting tested, knowing your status and making sure that if you are positive that you know there are services out there and that there’s support for you,” said Rep. Carl Sciortino (D-Medford).
Lawmakers say there’s been a lot of progress in HIV treatment that could extend or save your life. To this day, Narong doesn't know how or who infected him with HIV, which illustrates the importance of getting tested.
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